If you are a fan of crispy chicken cracklings but want to make them yourself from scratch, good chicken skin is what you must have on hand.
But where can you buy high-quality chicken skin and what to look for when shopping for this fatty ingredient?
Let’s figure it out in this article.
What is raw chicken skin?
Chicken skin is simply the external layer of skin on top of which feathers and scales grow.
This protective outer layer helps keep water in and protects it from bacteria that can cause infection.
Chicken skin is composed mostly of fat, which makes it flavorful but high in calories.
However, poultry fat is considered to contain less cholesterol than red meat like beef or pork.
People who want to keep their weight in line with a low-fat diet will usually remove the skin of the chicken before cooking.
Meanwhile, others prefer chicken with the skin still intact while cooking so that the dish can achieve a golden crispy crust and a more flavorful taste.
The most popular way to cook chicken skin is deep-frying or baking it until brown and crispy.
The resulting dish is known as chicken cracklings, whose fat has been rendered out and has no carb at all.
The rendered fat, or known as chicken tallow, will turn into a solid form at room temperature and can be used as a substitute for cooking oil.
Chicken cracklings turn out to be a great option for people who want a tasty snack without gaining more weight.
How many calories are in uncooked chicken skin?
As already mentioned, chicken skin is mainly made from fat, therefore, it is pretty high in calories.
One ounce of raw chicken skin will provide us with 90 calories.
However, in fact, chicken skin includes a good amount of healthy unsaturated fat, which is beneficial to your heart health.
Therefore, don’t feel guilty when eating this fatty layer even if you are following a low-fat diet because chicken skin is good to eat, once in a while.
Can you buy just chicken skin?
You can’t buy just chicken skin, but you can buy chicken wings and remove the skin yourself.
Chicken skin is a great cooking fat because it has a high smoke point, meaning it doesn’t break down and release unhealthy compounds at high temperatures like some oils do.
It also has a delicious crispy texture that many people love.
So, if you’re looking to add some extra chicken fat to your diet, removing the skin from wings is a great way to do it.
Just be sure to eat the wing meat as well, because it’s packed with nutrients.
How to choose the best uncooked chicken skin?
When it comes to homemade chicken cracklings, it is crucial to choose the best raw chicken skin.
If you don’t know how, the following tips will help you purchase the best chicken skin on the market:
1. Look for fresh chicken skin instead of the frozen type
It will be better to purchase fresh chicken skin than the frozen counterpart because it is hard to check the quality of frozen skin.
Moreover, the fresh chicken skin will result in a more flavorful taste of the resulting dish.
2. Choose chicken skin that has been treated with care and attention
When shopping for chicken skin, you should choose the one that has been treated with care and attention.
So what does it mean by care and attention? There shouldn’t be any feathers or blood left on the surface of the skin, and it should be thoroughly cleaned to remove any dirt before being packaged and reached consumers.
3. Avoid any chicken skin with black spots and a tough texture
Fresh chicken skin should have a tender texture, not too brittle or tough.
Also, remember to look for any black spot on the skin because it might be a sign of mold when it is improperly stored.
4. Try looking for pieces of chicken skin with an even thickness
When it comes to chicken skin with an even thickness, you can cook it evenly without worrying about burning some spots.
You can remove some excess fat on your own to create a more even layer of skin and to easily work with it after that.
Where to buy raw & uncooked chicken skin?
Chicken skin is not something people typically buy in bulk.
However, it is even removed and thrown away, so it is not really easy to find this ingredient on the markets.
In the following places, you probably find raw chicken skin to buy and make the perfect homemade version of chicken cracklings:
1. Local butcher or farmer’s market
The best place to look for fresh chicken skin is at a local butcher or farmer’s market.
Even if they don’t have any, you can ask the butcher or farmer ahead to save some skin for you next time they slaughter other chickens.
You will get a package of fresh raw chicken skin at a very reasonable price, or even for free.
2. Grocery store or supermarket
Some certain grocery stores or supermarkets in the United States carry this fatty ingredient, but mostly the frozen type.
You can check its availability before heading to the stores on their websites (if they have).
However, there will be more processed chicken skin (chicken cracklings or chicken tallow) sold in these places than raw chicken skin.
Chicken skin is usually discarded before cooking.
However, there are more people who make use of this ingredient to create delicious and crispy chicken cracklings and use the rendered fat as a cooking oil alternative.
If you are looking for high-quality raw chicken skin, we recommend checking out your local butcher that has a good meat department and they can even offer it for free.
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